For many people, the riskiest part of the day is driving a car. About 33,000 Americans die each year in motor vehicle accidents.1 That’s just deaths, not including injuries like brain damage, broken bones, and lost limbs. As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) puts it: “Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death in the U.S. More than 2.5 million drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as the result of being injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2012.”2
When driving, you are at the mercy of other people’s driving skills–or the lack thereof. No amount of “defensive driving” can prevent a reckless driver from driving six inches behind you on the freeway.
After an aggressive driver rear-ended Ann’s car and seriously hurt her neck several years ago ringing up tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, we decided we needed a change.
But how would we change the behavior of other drivers to reduce the risk of another collision?
The answer is to appeal to the self-interest of those around you: alert other drivers that you are a menace to their own safety. Label yourself as a student driver.
- Few signs strikes more fear into drivers’ hearts than “STUDENT DRIVER.” Ever since installing ones of these signs, we’ve had ZERO problems with tailgaters or road ragers. From a tailgater’s perspective, there’s no point in getting angry at you since you’re a clueless, dangerous newbie. It’s best to simply drive around the “stupid student driver.”
- With a student driver sign, people are more likely to forgive your bad driving. What can people really say to a student driver? “Learn to drive”? “You should lose your license”? WHAT license??
- We’ve experienced no downsides. Sure, you’ll take some good-natured ribbing and jokes from friends and family, but that’s not a real problem.
- As a bonus, a student driver sign makes your car easier to identify in a crowded parking lot.
What you’re looking for are reflective magnetic stickers, so they won’t leave glue/residue on your car if you need to remove the signs for any reason, such as going to a car wash.
- I strongly recommend buying a three-pack instead of just one, because they will fall off or otherwise wear down over time. The above photo is of Ann’s car trunk magnet after about 3 years and ~35,000 miles. You can tell that these magnets don’t last forever, so it’s wise to buy a few spares since buying three barely costs more than buying one.
- Make sure that you clean your car before attaching the magnetic bumper sticker. You can clean the area where you will attach the magnet with a rag and some water. For extra cleaning power, use isopropyl alcohol. Also, it’s good practice to remove the sticker and re-clean if you see debris accumulating between the sticker and the car.
- I don’t think cars really need more than one magnetic sign (mounted on the back), but if you really feel like it, you can place magnets on the sides of your car as well. Those side-mounted magnets are more likely to blow off your car at high speeds.
These reflective magnets are the ones that I bought. They aren’t that reflective, but they show up decently well at night anyway. Note that you can get these magnets cheaper as Add-On Items, but you need to spend $25+ with Amazon Prime, or $50+ without Amazon Prime, to get free shipping on your cart.